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Theatre and Performance Studies

Assimilation

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Full-Text Articles in Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque Art and Architecture

The Geographic And Social Mobility Of Slaves: The Rise Of Shajar Al’Durr, A Slave-Concubine In Thirteenth-Century Egypt, D. Fairchild Ruggles Dec 2015

The Geographic And Social Mobility Of Slaves: The Rise Of Shajar Al’Durr, A Slave-Concubine In Thirteenth-Century Egypt, D. Fairchild Ruggles

The Medieval Globe

Large numbers of outsiders were integrated into premodern Islamic society through the institution of slavery. Many were boys of non-Muslim parents drafted into the army, and some rose to become powerful political figures; in Egypt, after the death of Ayyubid sultan al-Salih (r. 1240–49), they formed a dynasty known as the Mamluks. For slave concubines, the route to power was different: Shajar al-Durr, the concubine of al-Salih, gained enormous status when she gave birth to his son and later governed as regent in her son’s name, converting to Islam after her husband’s death and then reigning as ...